In Book III of Plato’s Republic, Socrates and Glaucon engage in a dialogue concerning music and gymnastic. Socrates proposes that music is pivotal for a well-ordered soul, and gymnastic is pivotal for a well-ordered body, but too much music, without gymnastic can make a person too soft. Whereas too much gymnastic, without music, can make a person too hard and forceful. He proposes that a wise leader needs both music and gymnastic in order to be “tuned to the proper degree of tension and relaxation”—in order for the person to be harmonious.
Considering harmony, do we balance our lives amidst the host of good choices that God has placed before us? Do we live a balanced life so that we can lead a balanced church or team or family? Do we see each member and each personality as balancing the other personalities and members in order be “tuned to the proper degree of tension and relaxation?” Can we relax in the reality that God has ordained things as they are, or is there always tension that someone is getting in the way of us being successful? Can we be thankful for a proper tension even though the pressure is sometimes extreme, knowing that iron-sharpening-iron creates heat and sparks?
The word “balance” used to rub me the wrong way. It felt like a mystical, Eastern spiritualism promoting both good and evil in some yin-yangy sort of way. But what about balance between some good and some other good? What if the colors of the particular yin-yang in front of you are not black and white, but red and blue, or green and purple? What if, internally, we are trying to balance our gold with our silver with our precious things? What if, externally, we have some good and someone else has some other good and someone else another? (more…)